Saturday May 25, 2013
Legal Scrubbing is a Dirty GameJennifer Fierberg, MSW Salem-News.com
Salem-News.com's Jennifer Fierberg is in New York City covering the Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations at the UN.
(NEW YORK) - On day four of the Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations at the UN in New York City, a draft of the Arms Trade Treaty was presented to all 148 nations present. But to each and every delegation there were complex words such as "of" and "in" that had to be changed and could only be announced through a speech.
While the legal scrubbing of this document took hours a prominent theme emerged...the US and Canada do not want to include any form of ammunition in this treaty. Yes, ammunition. Both countries are willing to regulate arms but not ammunition. Each country that stood up to voice concerns about the legal jargon in the draft of the bill all also stated they wanted ammunition included. Each and every country. Many catch phrases began to surface on twitter and in pamphlets around the UN that read "there is a treaty to regulate arm chairs but not arms" or "even bananas are regulated by a treaty but not arms." So why is it so hard to regulate illegal arms trade that is proven to kill thousands and thousands of lives per year yet we control bananas?
Well, the short answer is that war is big business! Ammunition bring in millions of dollars every year to these super power countries so why would they want to stop the use of their cash cow? Yet, the unregulated supply of ammunition creates a loop hole for rebel groups around the world to access these supplies without restriction. Rebel groups in Somalia and DRC as evidence of the killings that go on unrestricted and with impunity. A comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty will stop the gap of unrestricted access to ammunition where arms embargoes have not. Yet, with both the US and Canada fighting this move it seems unlikely that such a measure will see the light of day in this bill. Powerful gun lobbyists presented their concerns at the end of day four but most activists and journalists in the room found this group quite entertaining and laughable.
First of all, a comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty has absolutely no effect whatsoever on any US or Canadian citizen to own or operate a weapon. Those rights are protected under the US Constitution and no international Arms Trade Treaty can ever effect the US Constitution.
Once woman even promoted a "fear tactic" method in order to get her point across to the dignitaries stating all women need to own guns because they will be attacked and raped. It was a head slapping moment for the majority of the room.
Jennifer Fierberg is a social worker in the US working on peace and justice issues in Africa with an emphasis on the crisis in Rwanda and throughout the central region of Africa. Her articles have been published on many humanitarian sites that are also focused on changing the world through social, political and personal action.
Jennifer has extensive background working with victims of trauma and domestic violence, justice matters as well as individual and family therapy. Passionate and focused on bringing the many humanitarian issues that plague the African Continent to the awareness of the developed world in order to incite change. She is a correspondent, Assistant Editor, and Volunteer Coordinator for NGO News Africa through the volunteer project of the UN. Jennifer was also the media co-coordinator and senior funding executive for The Africa Global Village. You can write to Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jennifer comes to www.Salem-News.com with a great deal of experience and passion for working to stop human right violation in Africa.
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